Once you’ve completed makeup school, put in the work, have practiced and perfected the techniques, are comfortable with the application, and have a small portfolio beginning to grow – you may feel ready to have your first client (and you’ve earned it!). The thought excites and scares you at the same time. Believe us, we get what you are feeling, every Makeup Artist has been in your shoes. However, as you probably know, everybody has to start somewhere.

 The question that probably keeps running in your head is: where do I start? 

1.      Start Small

As I’m sure you already know, beggars can't be choosers. You are just starting out, and being too picky won't really be most beneficial for you in the beginning. Of course, it's good to have an idea of what type of client you want to work with eventually, but there's no shame in starting small. Also, with little to no experience you might want to offer your expertise for trade, to do some portfolio building work; working with a small brand and beginning to build a good relationship with them. The idea is to put yourself out there. Which takes us to step 2.

2.      Get Out There

We live in the time of social media. A good professional Instagram, Facebook, or website will help you gain some traction and spread the word of your talents. Keep in mind, the way that you’ve laid out your online presence and work has to be easy to find and it has to look good, so be mindful in how you wish to present yourself and your work to the world! If you are taking a before and after of a look you made, then make sure the light, focus and framing are professionally executed.

3.      Word of Mouth

As a beginning Makeup Artist there is nothing that will help you more than word of mouth. This business is all about networking, about who you know and who knows you. This will help you now, but also later in your career. Polish this skill and your communication carefully!

So what can you do?

Ask for referrals. Let's say you worked with a photographer in order to build your portfolio, if the experience was good, don't just ask for photos. Let people know that you are looking for referrals, and more work! 

This is the time when you can't be shy.

Stay in touch. With clients, but also with other freelancers. While you shouldn’t be too pushy, a friendly thank you note after a job should do the trick. As for other freelancers, you never know if they’ll reach out to you last minute asking you to fill in a job for them.

Use your community. 

Everybody prefers to work with people they like and know. So be that person that people love, put yourself out there, and let people (subtly) know what you do

4.      Pass the Consultation Test

Before your first makeup consultation, ask the right questions. You have to be on the same page, regarding what look they want and what you can offer. Communication is key here as the client is the one that has to be happy with the results.  A few key aspects that you can talk about are

·         Look and inspiration

·         Occasion (will there be pictures taken, does the makeup application have to last the whole day, will you be in studio or natural light). Think ahead!

·         Where will you do the makeup, your own workspace or do you have to travel?

·         Budget

As this is your first client, it might be difficult to set up your rates. So have a clear pricing model, taking into consideration time commitment, kit fee and products used, any special requests, travel time, etc. Also do a bit of research into what are the normal rates for the kind of job that you will do (rates will vary based on location). As a general rule: too high or too low can hurt you in the long run. A ridiculously high rate might scare potential clients and a low one can do that too, as you might not cover all the costs.

5.      Be Professional. Be Prepared.

Once you are on a job, cover all of your basics, be there on time, it’s better to be a bit early and be prepared. Have your kit organized and spotless. It is the first impression that counts, and looking like you know exactly what you are doing will make the client feel more comfortable. Also, if something doesn’t work out, be ready to think on your feet and adjust as required. Doing a good job on your first client will help you get your second one, and so on.

Work equals more work, always remember that!

Now that you are bit more informed, go take the leap!

This is an exciting time for you and the first step in your career.